Shawn's story

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Shawn Tillotson, 50, is a car valeter at Hertz in Exeter.

Pluss delivers Work Choice, the Department for Work and Pensions specialist disability employment programme. Work Choice receives funding from the European Social Fund for customers referred to the programme prior to 25th April 2017.

Shawn's words

"I have been at Hertz for three months and was referred to Pluss by my Physiotherapist. 

"I was a lorry driver for many years then I injured my back which took me off work for many years; too many to mention. Over the years I have had numerous medical issues. I had been going through physio, hydro, consultants; everything. I was out of work for a long time. I was sat around doing nothing; not intentionally.

"Now I am in work it is brilliant. I would not have had the confidence to do it without Pluss. I have got Kate to thank; Kate helped me a lot. We were going through the job opportunities and what I really wanted to try and do. I love driving. I have always liked driving since I could drive. Then we saw the advert online.

"I actually worked for Hertz 30 years ago in Exeter and I enjoyed it then so we applied for it. The process was acutally easier than I thought. Kate came in to see them here before the interview so they ware aware of what Pluss do and my situation. I was very lacking in confidence. Kate had a chat with them and they invited me for interview. They knew the situation of me and my medical condition. They accepted that. I am grateful to Hertz.

"I was overwhelmed when I got the job. It was a bit nerve-wracking to start with; going to a job from not being in one for a long time. I love it because I love my driving. I was a trained valeter at BMW when I left school.

"I do limited hours because I still struggle with back pain. I split my hours so I always have a day off in between. It helps me to manage my pain. I still struggle; some days I get home and I am in agony. Hertz are flexible with me and I am flexible with them. I have had no issues with that no problems. It was part of the agreement when they took me on. They don't mind me sitting down if I need to.

"It has made a big difference. I'm not sat at home doing nothing; not getting bored. It is like I am providing again.

"I think to let other people know that are similar or worse than me. Some people might think I am the lower end of the disability side of it. But there is always something out there and there are people who can help; who are willing to help. Companies similar to Pluss. I hope this will help to get the word out."

Fiona Gatcum, Branch Supervisor, Hertz

"Shawn is our star. He is really, really good. He will do anything; anytime; he always likes to be busy. He is jut a really good guy. 

"He gets on well with his colleagues and is a popular lad. It has just worked out really well for us. If he needs time off or to take a break, we just work around it.

"Pluss has worked really well. It gave us a chance to assess Shawn and his needs, and our needs – and to marry the two up. Now we are heading into a really good place. We have some training in place for him; we are hoping to get his CPC which is a certificate in professional confidence for drivers. It means he can drive the 17 seat mini buses for us. That is what we are working towards at the moment. Then some more in house training that we do."